This is the second book in the Whisper of Scandals series and I find that I am really enjoying what the author is doing with this series. She isn't just creating a series that is loosely tied together by characters who are related or friends. Instead she is treating this like a true serial. This book continues and builds on the plot of the previous book. In that instance it really is not a stand alone. It feels more like a mystery series than a straight up romance. The book is genre-blending in a good way. But I think to some readers it can be a bit confusing.
Like the previous book, the blurb would lead one to believe that Angelina and Ben are the hero/heroine. But that isn't the case and that is where I think some confusion lies. Angelina, while being the titular heroine, her romance really isn't the focus of the story. She is a means for Ben to do his thing.
In fact, Ben and Alicia, the married couple from the first book feel like central characters in the book and in the series as well. And frankly I like this quite fine because I find them fascinating and I am rooting for them.
Ben finds himself sucked back into investigating the mysterious figure who is -- for reasons unclear to everyone -- hell bent on destroying the reputations of young women. In this case is it a twice widowed Lady Angelina DeBrooke whose reputation was destroyed when it looked like he deaths of both of her husband were suspicious.
Lady Angelina is no dummy. She has fallen in love again and her new lover wants to marry her. She knows that someone else has killed her two husbands. Her own reputation means little to her, but she doesn't want to gamble with the life of the new man she is in love with.
Prior to this Ben simply had a curious interest in the mysterious figure. But now he has taken it as a real challenge. Alicia is still working to connect with her husband and forge a strong marriage where one of good bloodlines and convenience existed before. She begins to insert herself into the investigation and proves a worthy asset to her husband.
Lady Angelina does have a romance and gets her HEA in the end. But it is clear despite packaging that hers really isn't the primary romance even though she was an appealing and smart heroine.
I must say I am really enjoying this series. I haven't been this interested in keeping up with a historical romance in a long time and I attribute it largely to how the author is structuring the ongoing mystery story and the wonderfully charismatic characters of Ben and Alicia.